Limerick man who died in prison on Christmas Day had warm personality

The late Michael Knapp Ryan.

A FATHER-of-one who was found dead in Limerick Prison on Christmas Day was remembered as having a warm personality at his Funeral Mass.

Michael Knapp Ryan, who was in his thirties and one of ten siblings from St Munchin’s Street, St Mary’s Park in Limerick City, is understood to have complained of feeling unwell to fellow inmates before he collapsed and died.

A post mortem was carried out and foul play is not suspected in his death.

A spokesman for the Irish Prison Service (IPS) said that while it does “not comment on individual prisoner cases, we can confirm the death of a prisoner in Limerick Prison on 25/12/2022”.

“All deaths in custody are investigated by the Irish Prison Service, the Inspector of Prisons and An Garda Síochána, where circumstances warrant. The cause of death is determined by the Coroner’s office,” he added.

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Mr Knapp Ryan had a number of convictions including for violent disorder.

A Garda spokesman said that “a file is being prepared by Gardaí for the Coroner in respect of the sudden death of a man in his 30s at University Hospital Limerick on December, 25. The man had been taken there following a medical emergency”.

Michael Knapp Ryan’s death was the second tragic incident in his family in recent months, after his brother, Kieran Knapp Ryan, was seriously injured in a fatal road traffic collision last September.

The collision, at Parteen, Co Clare, claimed the life of Tyler Kelly, (21), from St Mary’s Park, Limerick.

Michael Knapp Ryan’s brother Daniel Knapp Ryan, who is presently being held on remand at Limerick Prison on charges of possessing a hammer and a crowbar during alleged attempted burglaries at homes in Limerick.

On December 29, he sought bail to attend his brother’s funeral but  the application was refused by Limerick District Court, after strenuous objections from Gardaí.

Addressing Mr Knapp Ryan’s family at his funeral at St Mary’s Chruch, Athlunkard, Limerick, Fr Sean Harmon, said, “our prayers are very much with you on this very painful and difficult time”.

As a handball was shown mourners, Fr Harmon went on, “all through life, Michael loved the game of handball, which gave him so much enjoyment with his friends and family”.

“Michael, I’m told, had a very warm personality. He was constantly having good fun and banter. He was very jolly and had a large circle of friends. He meant the world to you all and he loved you all so much as well,” said Fr Harmon.

During the Funeral Mass, Mr Knapp Ryan’s coffin, resting next to a framed photograph of him, was draped in a green and white Limerick GAA flag.

His coffin was shouldered from the church to a waiting horse drawn carriage which took his remains to his final resting place at Mount Saint Oliver Cemetery.

Mr Knapp Ryan is survived by his mother Diane, sisters Maria, Donna, Joanne, Carina, Sarah and Sherice, brothers Daniel, Kieran and Ricky, and son Michael-John.